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Why do Restaurants need to use Social Media? September 10, 2010

Filed under: Restaurants — stepheppichdaily @ 12:10 am

Restaurants need Social Media – period.

As the economy has taken a downturn over the last several years people are being more picky where they spend their money.  Going out to dinner for some people is a luxury that just can’t be afforded.  For others, going out is a special occasion with family and friends.  The question is where do you go?  Where do you want to go to have a great experience, great food, and a reasonable price?  A lot of restaurants shake their heads wondering why their establishment isn’t packed like it was five years ago on a Friday Night.  If they paid attention, just a little, they would find out what their customers want.  Their customers want a Voice, and through Social Media, restaurants can have that voice.  Just ask Scott Wise of Scotty’s Brewhouse or the guys at West Coast Tacos.

I don’t care who you are in Indiana, I’d be willing to bet that you’ve been to Scotty’s Brewhouse.  If you haven’t been there, you’ve heard of it.  Scott attributes part of his success because of Social Media.  Scotty’s is on Myspace, Facebook, and Twitter.  Not only does he utilize these tools, but he is a complete master marketer.  Scott runs contests like the “Stick your tongue to a frozen flagpole” or the “Jump into the canal on St Patrick’s Day” for gift cards.  Of course, visual evidence of said act has to be produced, and Scott, like the genius he is, posts the pictures, to his Facebook and Twitter pages.  What might seem crazy to the average joe, I see as brilliant.  First, the puts the contest out there for his 5,113 followers on Twitter and his 6,509 Facebook Fans to hear about.   What makes me laugh and shake my head,  people actually do stick their tongues on flagpoles, and jump into the canal for gift cards.  He had several people post pictures for both contests.  He announced the winners, again on Twitter and Facebook – giving recognition to the winners.  Everyone else, green with envy.  Brilliant.  Any restaurant could do something similar, but they don’t.  Their tables are half full, and there is a wait at Scotty’s.  I swear there is a Scotty’s cult running around here in Indianapolis.

Not only does Scott run fun contests, he engages with his customers.  I’ve personally been at a Brewhouse, had a question about a discount or a problem with service.  Scott addressed my question/problem WHILE I was at the restaurant.  That’s service folks.  His staff are all responsive and active on Social Media as well.

One story that I will leave you with about Scotty’s Brewhouse.  I was on Twitter on a Sunday.  Scotty’s has a Sunday Brunch.  Someone tweeted that they were enjoying a Mo Fo Bloody Mary at the Brewhouse downtown location, took a picture of it, and posted it on Twitter.  About 5 minutes later, Scott tweeted that customer back and said “tell your bartender that the  garnish on your drink is wrong.”  That’s powerful stuff.

Onto West Coast Tacos, where did these guys come from?  I mean it’s like they dropped out of the sky and almost instantaneously became a big gun in Indianapolis.  If you haven’t heard of them, which I find hard to believe, you will.  They run their operation out of a mobile truck.  Serving west coast style tacos featuring steak, chicken, pork and fish.  Served on a warm tortilla with fresh cilantro, these things are yummy.  All out of a truck!  The most interesting thing about these guys is you never know where they’re going to be unless you are on Twitter or Facebook.  They post their locations daily, and you – the customer go to them.  I remember the first time I went to the truck, there was a line.  I’m not kidding, a line.  Parked right next to Acapulco Joe’s  (which was a staple in Indy for many years).  A line at the truck, Joe’s dead.  These guys depend totally on their product and Social Media.  There isn’t anywhere to sit, they only accept cash, still there is a line.  They have 3,617 followers on Facebook and 2,439 on Twitter.  Remember, they’ve only been in Indy for a couple of months.  You have to follow them on a Social Media site to know where they are going to be.  They mostly stay in Broad Ripple or Downtown, but I’ve seen people ask (almost beg) them to come to their side of town.

The problem is with restaurants is it’s a hard business.  I grew up in a restaurant and I remember how hard my family worked day in and day out to get customers in the door and build a solid reputation.  Social Media can help you establish a solid base of devout customers.  Customers that know if you have a compliment or a problem, it will be appreciated or taken care of.   The problem is the time factor.  Most restaurants don’t have time to dedicate to being as responsive as they would like on Social Media.  That’s where I can help.  I’ve helped several establishments here in Indianapolis grow their following, be more responsive, and show some appreciation for their customers.  New and repeat.

Check out my Ghost Tweeting website  at

I would be happy to chat with you about how to utilize Social Media as a tool to grow your business.



7 Responses to “Why do Restaurants need to use Social Media?”

  1. Chuck Gose Says:

    I think it’s more of a “should use” than “need to use.” Not everybody has the “charisma” (I think that’s the word) of a Scotty’s Brewhouse or West Coast Tacos and so it’s going to be a challenge and possibly a struggle for them. And social is not a catch-all. You are going to reach a certain audience, but not everybody (at least not yet) is on Twitter and Facebook.

    And I’m curious to see who’s next? Which restaurant (mobile or stationary) will be the next to take advantage of social marketing to raise its image?

  2. @DanaMNelson Says:

    If they do use it, yeah they “should be” on it. But too many times a business thinks that just because they have the magic social media accounts that great things just happen. Scotty works his butt off to keep it up and has created a level of expectation. If a restaurant starts that and then decides to not work it, that could be devastating. They have to be willing to work, willing to be on it and willing to be real!

  3. To Chuck’s point there are some establishments restaurant or otherwise that hurt themselves by being online. Without having someone like you to properly monitor their brand and interact it may do them a disservice to be on board with new media tools. Here is a good one, should MCL be on social media?

  4. BgKahuna Says:

    I like pudding.

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